Birthday Surprises and Fun

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Hello and welcome.  Wednesday was a day off from work … well, sort of!  It was also my birthday.  The 51st birthday came right at the time the country was watching the vote totals roll in for the Presidential election.

Wednesday morning I had to go to the doctor’s office for a routine check.  Unfortunately, they immediately ordered a battery of cardiac-related tests.  Though I’m sure I was supposed to stay, one nurse told me it was okay to leave after the EKG… and I practically fled north toward trout country!  (Who wants to sit in a darned doctor’s ofice on his/her birthday?)

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Round hay bales held together by thin green netting… I sell and load up the green and blue nettng products at the farm store.

The first stop was… well… it wasn’t a stop.  The parking lot at the Little Turkey River was jam packed with anglers.  I won’t repeat the exact words but they were something like “**** this!”  Time was getting a little late so I started heading north to a special new place very close to a gravel road… I’d missed it twice while driving and only saw it by Google Earth.  This time I found the location!  Oh, how very special it turned out to be!

Normally I’ll share some of the hot spots for trout… The new venue is one that I won’t reveal because the fishing was that darned good!  In less than an hour, I caught four very nice fish and one average one (the average one got thrown back).  The four larger trout were about 16″ long, weighing around 1.5 pounds each.  Stocked fish (which I normally catch) are about .5 pounds.  These were three times bigger!

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This season had brought a lot of mediocre sized trout.  These were by far the biggest I’d caught all year.  Their dark hues told me the fish had been in there for a bit and the meat would be extra flavorful.

Unfortunately, the new hole was not too accessible, perhaps why nobody had fished it.  When I’d climbed down to keep from losing a big fish, the sandbar collapsed and sucked in my left leg down to the knee.  The foot came up but then extricating the muddy, waterlogged shoe was not exactly fun!

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A turtle statue in the town of McGregor, Iowa.  He looks friendly!

After the enjoyable angling, the next stop was a little farther north.  I wanted to clean the trout but had forgotten to bring a knife.  I crossed the Mississippi and stopped at a bait shop to get a cheap cutting instrument.  This cute turtle statue was on the Iowa side.  After pausing to do some surgery on the fish, it was back home to rest for the evening and enjoy the rest of the birthday.

 

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Crispy Stuffed Trout from the birthday catch.. That’s a full sized cookie sheet!

Two of the lunkers were cooked up tonight (Thursday).  I split one with kitty Jesse.  Despite him being ill, he still loves trout.  The large fish had an amazing gamey, somewhat salmon-like taste to them.  The stuffing was a mixture of Stove Top turkey dressing made with 1/2 stick of butter, then 1/2 cup of brown rice and 2t of minced garlic added to it.  I also put in some sea salt and cracked black pepper.  What was different this time was while the fish were baking, I pierced the crispy skin many times with a fork, basted the fish with butter, and added more salt and pepper.  They were to die for.   🙂

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Birthday gifts from friend Teresa…

One other thing I wanted to mention was that friend Teresa called on Tuesday and said “Let’s have dinner.”  She brought a few birthday presents along…  a trout ornament for the Christmas tree and the two metal signs you see in the picture below.  The “Gone Fishin’ ” announcement will be attached to magnets and put on the front door occasionally.  You can do that in small town Iowa without risk of burglary.  As far as the “Eat * Sleep * Fish * Repeat” sign, it’s just the right height and color.  I’m going to mount it over the chair, aka the “Green Throne” (where Jennifer sleeps when we’re camping) in the van.  It will make a fine addition!


That’s about it for now.  It’s been a fun few days.  I’ve made lots of new friends at work and the job seems to be a good fit.  Just during the last couple of shifts I’ve even started running a forklift.  It’s good to have a healthy paycheck coming in again.

Before long is Black Friday.  I’ll be off for a couple of days and am thinking about doing some more camping, perhaps at a new friend’s place!

Thanks for stopping by today!  Have a safe and happy rest of the fall camping season.

Brad, Jesse James, and Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa

 

 

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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6 Responses to Birthday Surprises and Fun

  1. Jo says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Brad! Seems like you had a very special one. Just love the cake, the signs are great. And oh those fish sure looked good.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Jo! It was a fun birthday. I took the cake to work and the co-workers devoured it. The cake had that whipped cream type frosting – I like it better than the greasy traditional stuff. I forgot to mention that the stuffing for the fish had some French fried onions in it, too… Jesse liked the trout meat – I enjoyed the stuffing (which soaks up the fish flavor, too). It was a fun day. Take care!

  2. One Vikinggirl says:

    Happy birthday! Woderful fishing – and with a good tale to tell too. 🙂

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks! It was a really fun time… and a way to cap off the fishing season. Winter will be here soon… but there might be one more camoing trip next weekend. 🙂 Take care and thanks for stopping by!

  3. my_vantasy says:

    Happy belated birthday! Glad you could get away and find peace. I think it’s awesome you’re still planning to camp in November. I always look forward to your trips. Have fun!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Thanks for the note. I’ve got a trip planned for Saturday / Sunday coming up. There probably won’t be any fishing involved for a change! I’m just in a mood to rest and relax and cook some really yummy comfort food. An old farmer popped in at work and is going to sell me some unusual animal meat for the weekend dinner. It should be a comfortable, relaxing time.

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